Foundation co-hosts 2011 State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit
Dokken leads two days of event; Fikes moderates panel discussion
of Mexico Foundation (GMF) co-hosted the
the Gulf of Mexico Summit and supported it financially
at the platinum level. Held in Houston December 4-8, the
Summit's impressive list of speakers
included EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson, Oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, former first
lady Laura Bush and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s
CEO Dr. Alan Thornhill.
Gulf of Mexico Foundation President/CEO Dr. Quenton Dokken facilitated two days of sessions during the State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit.
WATCH SUMMIT VIDEO SEGMENTS
Summit was a sequel to the first Gulf Summit held in
2006, in which GMF also played a key role. The 2011 Summit was committed
to preserving the ecological and economic integrity of the Gulf of
Mexico. A recurring theme was recovery efforts and
research being conducted in the wake of the Deepwater
Horizon Oil Spill
in April 2010.
At the Summit, President/CEO
Dokken moderated a panel discussion called
"Partnerships for a Sustainable Gulf of Mexico" and
gave two presentations focusing on the Gulf's
future. GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikes moderated a panel discussion on
conservation and restoration in the Gulf of Mexico.
"The Foundation's active role in the Summit highlighted
the GMF as being a key player in Gulf conservation and
restoration," Fikes said. Dokken announced the
Foundation's plans to build a state-of-the-art Habitat Restoration
Technology Center in Galveston next year, which will provide training to
improve the art and practice of habitat restoration.
GMF Program Manager
Mikell Smith met informally with various
participants who are well-positioned to collaborate as
programming for the Center is developed.
SUMMIT 2011 WEBSITE
Health of the Gulf determines focus of Summit discussions
Four-day gathering brings scientific experts, decision makers together
The State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit held in Houston this month provided an ideal
venue for discussing recent developments affecting
the health of the Gulf. Participating in the four-day
gathering were about 400 top leaders representing
government, industry, science and nonprofit
organizations, many whose primary focus is on the Gulf
The Summit's opening day on December 5 began with EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson announcing the release of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force's
Final Report, which outlines a strategy for long-term recovery of the Gulf of
Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. “This document will help guide and support much of the work
that we will do over the coming years,” said Ryan Fikes,
Deputy Director for the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. Fikes oversees the GMF’s
Another topic of discussion during the
Summit was the "Restore the Gulf Coast Act of
2011," which would dedicate – specifically to restoration along the Gulf coast – 80 percent of the
penalties to be assessed against BP as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. If passed, this legislation
would make an estimated $5 to 20 billion available for the kind of large-scale restoration projects long needed
to reverse decline of coastal habitat and land loss in the Gulf region. The Restore Act will most likely be
included in the suite of appropriation bills that Congress will vote on before the holiday recess.
On the third day of the Summit, a team of experts rolled out the
framework for a "Report Card" for the Gulf of Mexico, a
concept being developed by a team led by the Harte Research Institute to measure the health of the Gulf of
Mexico. This ecosystem-wide Report Card will demonstrate scientifically how well the Gulf is or is not progressing towards desired long-term goals. The Report
Card will ultimately be used to inform decision makers in managing for a healthy Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.
CONSERVATION & RESTORATION
Conference empowers students to become leaders, stewards
Event kicks off new Multicultural Education Program with hands-on learning
Middle school students participate in a scientific
experiment demonstrating the effects of ocean
acidification on corals and shelled animals.
PHOTO: CARRIE ROBERTSON/GMF
of Mexico Foundation (GMF) hosted its annual Youth
Leadership & Stewardship Conference themed "It's All
About Habitat" for about 100 middle school and
high school students and
their teachers on December 10 at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
The event kicked off GMF's new Multicultural Education Program and
gave students hands-on experience in learning about
some of the local area's habitats such as wetlands, oyster
beds and coral reefs. "This is one way GMF is empowering our youth with resources and education so
they can start making a difference today," said GMF Program Manager
During the all-day event, students and their teachers
tromped along mucky shorelines, conducted scientific
experiments and learned from local scientists about an
oyster shell recycling project being conducting nearby,
shark tagging and wetlands ecology.
Throughout the day,
each group of students received activity sets that
they stored in a large plastic tote called
a "Habitat Trunk," which they would bring
back to their classrooms. The students will use the
to help educate their peers, family members and the
community about the importance of our coastal habitats.
GMF EDUCATION & TRAINING
VIEW EVENT PHOTOS
Restore America's Estuaries plans October conference
GMF involved with planning, coordination and sponsorship of event
Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is seeking proposals
for its 6th National Conference on Coastal and
Estuarine Habitat Restoration to be held October 20-24,
2012, in Tampa, Florida. The conference’s theme will be
“Restoring Ecosystems, Strengthening Communities.”
Submittal deadline for dedicated sessions, presentations
and posters focusing on all aspects of coastal and estuarine
habitat restoration is February 1, 2012.
Registration for the event is open to the public.
The Conference will bring attention to the challenges
and opportunities for restoration and will bring
together a unique blend of people who are involved in
policy, science, strategy, business and on-the-ground
restoration. Previous years' conferences have been
attended by more than 5,200 people.
The Gulf of Mexico Foundation (GMF) will be taking a lead
role in the 2012 conference with several staff members
participating. GMF Deputy Director Ryan Fikes
sits on RAE's National Program Committee, which will
decide which proposals are selected to be presented at
the conference this spring in Tampa.
GMF is an
Executive Sponsor of the 2012 conference and has
been working with RAE on another project this year –
helping to outline the strategy for a new federal
program being developed called the Coastal Restoration
Corps (CRC) that aims to put people to work restoring
coastal and estuarine habitats. GMF President/CEO
Dokken is the Gulf of Mexico delegate on
the CRC's steering committee made up of 45 leaders and experts.
RAE CONFERENCE WEBSITE
Gulf of Mexico Foundation | PMB 51, 5403 Everhart | Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free | (361) 882-3939 phone | (361) 882-1262 fax | e-mail: